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Hippopedal intensity plots: drawing comparisons between antenna and optical polarimetry

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Abstract

We present a graphical method for determining the polarization state of light. We review polarization profiling techniques used for antenna systems and correlate them with an optical analog. The analogy is used to perform tabletop optical polarimetry experiments. The experiments require intensity measurements and generation of hippopedal polar plots. The measured polarimetry results are found to agree well with the theoretical predictions. We also set up a cost-effective quantum version of the experiment and reformulate the problem as that of quantum state measurement. These experiments can be incorporated in the teaching laboratory for both classical optics and quantum optics courses, offering a purely quantitative, albeit graphic, technique for polarization analysis. These techniques are already employed for design of microwave antennas; the optic analogy is, therefore, interesting and useful.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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